Obama gets his own @POTUS account, joins Twitter age

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is embracing short-form communication. Twitter has a new @POTUS account.

For years, White House officials have used Twitter to communicate White House policy and occasional personal observations.

But Obama himself pretty much stayed out of the social media fray.

No longer.

With a frugal 92-character message — 48 short of maximum permitted — Obama on Monday declared: "Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account."

The account name — @POTUS — stands for the common acronym used for President of the United States.

The White House says the tweets on that account will come exclusively from the president. The Obama-affiliated Organizing for Action group has an @BarackObama account and the White House has an @WhiteHouse handle, both mostly written by staff. Obama has on rare occasions used them, signing his personal messages with his initials, BO.

The move is the latest by a White House particularly attuned to social media and new technology. But Twitter, with its ability to be anonymously interactive, is a new forum for the president, even one who carries his own Blackberry.

One interested party checked in with the president Monday afternoon:

"Welcome to @Twitter, @POTUS!" wrote @billclinton. "One question: Does that username stay with the office? #askingforafriend"

Within the hour, Obama had replied: "Good question, @billclinton. The handle comes with the house. Know anyone interested in @FLOTUS?"

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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